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Hail to the boob!

Warning: I am not going to hold back my opinion whatsoever in this post, so if you are offended easily I suggest not reading.

Lately I have met lots of moms who have for one reason or another decided not to breast feed their babies. I find it ironic that a breastfeeding mom shows up on the cover of Time magazine and people are horrified, yet nobody seems to think twice when you pull out the formula, shake it up and feed it to your baby. Do people know what is in formula?! I read the ingredients on everything, and that may seem crazy, but these days it is a MUST!

The main ingredient in most popular formulas is corn syrup solids. You are thinking, so what? Corn, its a vegetable, right? Well no it is a grain, and it is one of the top genetically modified foods in the country. Genetically modified foods are NOT safe for human consumption, and the fact that the FDA allows them is a whole other rant I won't get into. This may sound like another language to some of you, but if something is going into your childs body, don't you want to know exactly what it is??? I am finding more often than not, people don't even LOOK at the ingredients in formula, much less care what each thing is.

Formula feeders are so sensitive, you can't even HINT that breastfeeding is the better choice. Moms like myself are forced to keep our mouths shut even when we hear about how their babies are allergic to this formula, won't eat that formula, or have health problems.. Breast feeders are forced tip toe around saying that they don't pass any judgement, and each person has the right to choose how to feed their baby. WELL I do pass judgement. My opinion is that your baby should have breast milk, otherwise you shouldn't have babies. Harsh, maybe, but back in the day if you weren't able to do it yourself, you had to find someone to do it for you.

I have lots of friends who formula feed, and I still love them all, but I can't pretend that their decision is what is best for their child. Its not. Every organization on the planet says that breast is best, so for once I don't stand with the few and far between on this issue. If you can't breastfeed (which is a VERY RARE occurence), find someone to do it for you, or learn how to make your own formula from natural, healthy ingredients... Formula is the easy way out, and you will pay for it later when your child is sick all the time and has health issues galore. Formula will sustain a child to survive, but they will not thrive. The fact is that SIDS rates are significantly lower in breastfed babies as well as health and weight problems.

There, I have said my peace. There is loads of information out there on this topic and as a parent it is your resonsibility to give your child the best. Do the research, see for yourself. I promise that you will be conviced that the boob was a great invention ;)

Finding your happy place

Step parenting doesn't come with a hand book, but it sure would be nice! This past November we gained half custody of my step daughter and right away we knew that things were not going to be the same as they were when we only had her weekends. Normally she is a well behaved, happy and upbeat kid, but things seemed to take a turn for the worst. She acted depressed, whiny and impossible to please. What happened to the little girl we once knew?

For the first few months I did absolutely everything in my power to make her happy when she was with us. I took her to do fun things, bought her stuff, went out of my way to make her feel special, and it was all helpful in the moment, but the minute we were back to "regular life" she would fall straight back into crying for her mom and acting depressed. She was completely unreasonable. She would use our phones to call her mom at all hours of the day and night (let me remind you she is 5) and every time she got off the phone she would sob for the next hour. We tried making mommy pictures, little notes, phone calls, special "talks" and none of it would help.

I was on the verge of losing my mind. Having a miserable and difficult kid not only is hard on them, but it is hard on the other kids and parents. There is no worse feeling then trying your very hardest to make someone happy, only to see them worse off every moment. One day I had the most beautiful epiphany. I can't make her happy, and it is our job to create the environment, not allow her to create it.

That day started a new chapter in all of our lives. I was done. Done catering to nasty behavior, done going out of my way to please her, done stressing myself out, I quit. Dustin and I laid down new rules.

These are the rules:

1. No more calling mommy without our permission- We would allow her to call once a day, but not when she was exhausted and going to throw a royal fit when she got off the phone.

2. No more crying for mommy- I know this sounds harsh, but we told her it is ok to miss mommy, and if she wants to cry for her she can go to her room and do it. We told her that we were all happy and when she was ready to be happy she could come out and be happy too.

3. No more killing myself trying to keep every minute of her day occupied- We can't change our whole lives every other week to accommodate Breanna. We love when she is home, but this is our life and she has to learn how to be happy with that life, even if some days we just hang out around the house.

Within two weeks of these new rules she was back to her old self. The first couple days she might go in her room and cry for 5 minutes, but once she saw it wasn't phasing us, she stopped. She started playing with her sister nicely, reading her books, and playing with her toys again.We even got good reports about how well she was doing at her mom's house. Not only was she happier, but she rarely says she misses her mom, or wants to call her. She has learned to enjoy the time she has here. She still has a struggle or two here or there, but nothing we can't handle.

It amazes me how kids need guidance in every area of their lives, even emotionally. We had to teach her how to properly control her emotions. It is a hard lesson to learn at such a young age, but it is her reality. She has two families that love her and want to spend time with her, some kids don't even have one. Splitting time in two different homes will always be a challenge, but as a step parent I am thrilled to say she has the best transition possible into our happy home.

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